1914 Germany is moved to 1850

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
2,867
Las Vegas, NV USA
#12
Surely Germany stars by sailing around the UK and removing all Royal Navy ship building capability from the surface of the globe?
I suppose so but the effectiveness of the British Fleet is already nullified. The problem for Germany is holding on to its technological advantage. It's limited by its own population as to the amount of territory it can control. Other more distant nations like the US have the resources to catch up. It wouldn't take 64 years to bridge the technological gap. As a land power, Germany could easily destroy the French Army which still used muzzle loaded rifles, but does it destroy France? To hold on to its technological advantage, Germany would have to be very ruthless and would eventually fail anyway.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,559
SoCal
#13
I suppose so but the effectiveness of the British Fleet is already nullified. The problem for Germany is holding on to its technological advantage. It's limited by its own population as to the amount of territory it can control. Other more distant nations like the US have the resources to catch up. It wouldn't take 64 years to bridge the technological gap. As a land power, Germany could easily destroy the French Army which still used muzzle loaded rifles, but does it destroy France? To hold on to its technological advantage, Germany would have to be very ruthless and would eventually fail anyway.
It doesn't take that many people to run an empire.

As for France, the smart strategy would be to cripple France by taking iron ore-rich Briey and Longwy.
 
Mar 2018
591
UK
#14
I suppose so but the effectiveness of the British Fleet is already nullified. The problem for Germany is holding on to its technological advantage. It's limited by its own population as to the amount of territory it can control. Other more distant nations like the US have the resources to catch up. It wouldn't take 64 years to bridge the technological gap. As a land power, Germany could easily destroy the French Army which still used muzzle loaded rifles, but does it destroy France? To hold on to its technological advantage, Germany would have to be very ruthless and would eventually fail anyway.
Sure. So they nullify the threat from the British on a more permanent basis and hurt them (in terms of pride and economically as much as military). They use the breathing space from this to establish the over seas empire that they were desperate to have in 1914. Of course, it would be smarter for them not to waste resources and political capital doing so, but they would do so anyway. Maybe just as part of the scramble for Africa, or maybe they'd try their hand in India/China/Japan. Eitherway, I see this as a distraction that would hurt more than it helps.

But the bulk of the efforts would be to unify all the German speaking people. So they would take on the Habsburg and take what ever parts of their territory has a german speaking majority, or at even a large enough minority that they can use this class as a local ruling elite. Considering the numerous Prussian-Austrian wars, that they would do this is also very predictable. I expect they would do the same thing in Poland, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium and parts of France and maybe also Switzerland. That's already a huge chunk of territory and population to digest, so why go further? If they're smart, they'd use the huge economic wealth that they have to buy people off and make the transition to a new Greater Germany as pleasant as possible for them. I don't imagine that would be too difficult for the German speakers, the concept of a Greater Germany has been around for a millennia and the new borders wouldn't go much beyond what the HRE covered at it's peak.

Now that they control all land access from western Europe to eastern Europe and the near east, and can dominate the seas, with ease, they are in a very strong trading position. Combine that with the small advantage of having an industrial revolution earlier and faster than anyone else, they are unimaginably wealthy. In the medium term, that matters more than military power. The smart thing to do would be to use this wealth to continue developing a technological advantage: they can't stop others from discovering their secrets, but they can try to stay ahead by running themselves. Considering that a war torn Germany in 1918 still manage to progress its industrialisation, a hugely wealthy Germany in 1850 with 1914 tech ought to be able to do much better.

For me the real wildcard is whether everyone will gang up on them a la Napoleon/Hitler. If they are not too greedy with land, and stick to German speakers and HRE lands, I can see a hugely intimidated international community going along with it rather than finding and losing endless wars about it (Germany will win those wars for a decade or two, but eventually the stress would break them). The key to doing this would probably to NOT try and make their neighbours into vassal/tributary states after taking the german-speaking land from them, but just letting them be. In the medium/long term, that is simply more stable.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
2,867
Las Vegas, NV USA
#16
It doesn't take that many people to run an empire.

As for France, the smart strategy would be to cripple France by taking iron ore-rich Briey and Longwy.
True, but the UK invested in its empire. They ran it on a shoestring largely because they relied on loyal local people to maintain order. Most of their colonies were not industrialized and those that began to industrialize (Canada, Australia) consisted of people of mostly British ancestry who were loyal to the Crown. With the German example, industrialized states would be subject to some kind of German domination based on German technological superiority. Germany would need to prevent or at least slow down technological advances in those subordinate states or lose their advantage.
 
Mar 2018
591
UK
#20
It did for Bismarck in the 1870's (Kulturkampf).
Fair enough, I didn't know that. Maybe add mostly Protestant to the criteria I had above (German speaking and former HRE land).

I did some quick economic digging and I hadn't realised just how important the economic impact would be. Source is: List of regions by past GDP (PPP) - Wikipedia
With some geometric interpolation Germany in 1913 was 6 times richer than in 1850. Germany in 1913 had a larger GDP than the rest of Europe put together in 1850. It would count for over 20% of the whole world's GDP. For comparison, that's the fraction of the world's GDP that France, the UK and Germany *put together* had in 1913. And that's before taking into account the extra wealth they could have for a little extra land and control of the sea born trade routes.
 
Likes: Futurist

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